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Nic Young

Broken Plans

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If there is a God, then he exists in all the ways things don't quite fit together. This is that all-powerful, capital-letter God I'm talking about, because there's no doubting the little ones that take care of things like awkward waitresses and clumsy goodbyes. What I'm talking about is the God with a plan. And if he really has one, then like I said, it's in the little ways things are broken. Like that time Amy lost her shit at my birthday party and ended up hiding from herself behind an old mattress in the garage, the mattress behind which my dad had hidden from my mom all his old comics and Playboys, the mattress behind which Amy and I really talked for the first time – about how we weren't kids anymore and how our parents are screwing up just the same. That was also the mattress behind which we first made out, on a pile of priceless Supermans and worthless Playboys. If that really was a plan, then I've got to say, God deserves a shout-out for the sheer logistics involved. That look my mother gets like she's not so much disappointed as proven right about you, and my dad, eventually incapable of enjoying anything at all, leaving us behind. All that just to make him stash those comics and Playboys sometime before giving up completely, all so that when Amy goes hiding and I go looking for her we'd have something to find. Saying it like this sounds crazy, but the thing is, I'm outside your front door, and you're not home. You without any kind of phone number, and me with the wrong kind of spare time enough to make the bus trip out here. What else is outside your door is this morning's local paper. It's the kind of local I would never have seen had I not come, and had I not sat down to wait for you. On the front page of that paper is a man helping a boy hold up a fish. Behind that fish is a boat, moored up and getting cleaned by a weathered old man I can't help but feel close to. Stencilled in grey paint onto the side of that boat are the words "seize the diem", a joke my dad made again and again, talking about the boat he'd own one day, when things were better.


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